The city of Mount Vernon is now in the running to win millions of dollars worth of upgrades. The town qualifies for this year's Indiana Stellar Communities Program, but they have some competition.
The award could mean millions for the city. Past awards range anywhere from ten to twenty million dollars. The city of Mount Vernon has not yet won the title for Stellar Community, but they're already looking to the horizon.
"Very excited, excited and stunned. It's like a dream. It's something that you've worked for." Mount Vernon's Mayor, John Tucker, receives the news Wednesday that his city is among the six finalists to win Indiana Stellar Communities Program award.
"I almost asked him, this is not a joke or anything is it? This is true. He assured me that it was the real thing," says Tucker. It was no joke. The city could win millions for improvement projects. Already brainstorming, Mayor Tucker says the city would like to continue their renovations to the river front, create a new park, and add extra parking at City Hall. Tucker says there are even plans to renovate an existing building into a new community center. "There is a building downtown that we are looking at," says Mayor Tucker. Tucker says the money could even go towards improving homes around the city. "If they need siding, roofing, heating or air. It will help the owners."
There is some stiff competition. Five other cities in Indiana are also hoping to win, including near by Huntingburg Indiana. This mayor says the town's initiative to want to grow, is easy to see. He says they have already completed fifty-two million dollars worth of projects over the last six years. "Part of the things they look at is, are you a community that can not only make the application, but can you follow through and get it done. I think Mount Vernon certainly has proven that."
Brian Jeffries, a city councilmen, says the town is just glad to be a contender. "We are just happy as can be about it. We have our fingers crossed and hope to be the winners."
In the end, city leaders say these improvements are to better the quality of life for their residents like Kathy and Albert Muensterman. "This is the first time we have been down here since they have re-done this. It looks wonderful. They have done a really fantastic job."
The Muenstermans say they're excited for what the future may bring to Mount Vernon, and a little help from the state would be nice. "It will bring people here. It's a wonderful town. I'm just really happy for Mount Vernon."
There will be a workshop on April 11th for all Stellar finalists in Indianapolis. The workshop will lay out guidelines of competition.